Candy for Israeli soldiers, cancer for Gaza’s civilians

Staff in al-Shifa hospital, Gaza City, treat a wounded man; doctors say that some of the injuries they have observed appear to have been caused by DIME bombs. 

Ezz Zanoun APA images

In an especially grotesque piece of propaganda, an Israeli weapons manufacturer has boasted of distributing candy to soldiers attacking Gaza.

Israel Aerospace Industries, the company in question, is a leading supplier of drones to the Israeli military.

Such drones are, of course, not bringing candy to Palestinians. They are being used to drop weapons which cause horrific injuries.

A new briefing from Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights group, details how Hellfire rockets connected to drones are firing DIME (dense inert metal explosives) into residential areas of Gaza. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor working in Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital, has spoken of how injuries he has seen in recent weeks appear to have been caused by DIME.

Bodies cut in half

A DIME bomb usually contains a mixture of explosive material, cobalt, nickel, iron and tungsten alloy. The bomb leaves almost no metallic fragments in the human body.

The injuries of victims who have been hit by DIME bombs are therefore distinguishable from injuries from traditional, metal-coated weapons. Physicians in the Gaza Strip have observed how entire bodies have been cut in half, bones shattered, and skin, muscle and bones turned into charcoal due to the heavy burns caused by these bombs.

Furthermore, DIME bombs have dangerous biological effects on the victims and cause tissue to be torn from flesh. Amputations caused by the bombs are extremely difficult to treat and frequently result in death. Work on treating such injuries has been made all the more difficult by how Israel has attacked more than twenty health facilities.

Palestinians who survive the DIME injuries are at high risk of contracting cancer. Exposure to a mixture of tungsten and cobalt are linked to early signs of lung cancer, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.


Al-Haq argues that Israel’s use of DIME bombs against the people of Gaza violates international humanitarian law.

A key tenet of international law, the principle of proportionality, prohibits the causing of death and injuries to civilians. More than 80 percent of all Palestinians killed so far have been civilians, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Children comprise one-fifth of the victims.

In addition, the 1980 convention on chemical weapons prohibits the use of weapons which “cause superfluous injury or excessive suffering.” Israel has signed that convention.

The convention also prohibits the use of any weapon which aims to injure by placing fragments in the human body that escape detection. Al-Haq argues that Israel is using Palestinian civilians in Gaza to test DIME bombs. By doing so, Israel violates the principle of humanity in international law, which requires that all persons be treated humanely in all circumstances.

Conducting experiments on civilians is also recognized as a war crime by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

This leads to an inescapable conclusion: Israel must be prosecuted for its cruel and criminal behavior in Gaza.




All I can say to this is: special blessings upon Dr. Mads Gilberts. Why does it seem to be that the wonderful Norwegians are always, always on hand for crises in Palestine and Lebanon? And why can't the rest of us be like them?
Norway must be a magical place in order for it to produce such exemplary citizens.

Adri Nieuwhof

Adri Nieuwhof's picture

Adri Nieuwhof is a human rights advocate based in the Netherlands and former anti-apartheid activist at the Holland Committee on Southern Africa. Twitter: @steketeh